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http://www.nationalteaday.co.uk/ April 21st, 2017

National Tea Day is celebrated in April in the UK. While tea is the most popular beverage in the UK, this is its official day. This day is entirely different from National Hot Tea Day in the US, which is celebrated each January. This day celebrates all aspects of tea, including Afternoon Tea, one of the most popular times to enjoy tea.

Whether you have a full on English Afternoon Tea with some friends or just a cup while curling up on the couch, take the time to treat yourself to a fine brew. It’s always completely up to you if you want to go to with a familiar favorite like PG Tips or Typhoo or go with something new and different like Taylor’s of Harrogate. Have some English Breakfast, Green Tea, or how about something unfamiliar? Try a few of these teas that are becoming popular all over the world:

Darjeeling: Known as the “Champagne of Teas”, this reigns one of the best in its class. Darjeeling is grown in India, in the Darjeeling district, which is where it gets its name. Brands to try: English Tea Store, Twinings, Harney and Sons, and Taylors of Harrogate.

Oolong: A popular Chinese tea, this distinctive tea is just a bit fermented and oxidized for a perfect balance of green and black tea. Brands to try: English Tea Store Orange Blossom Oolong, Twinings China Oolong.

Assam: Assam tea was named after the region in which it was grown in India. It is a black tea with a strong malty flavor and deep bronze color. It is perfect for breakfast or any other time of day with a little sugar and milk. Brands to try: English Tea Store and Taylors of Harrogate.

What kind of tea would you celebrate National Tea Day with and who would you share your cup with? If you are a tea lover, then National Tea Day is every day!

 

-CD

 

national-iced-tea-month-june

If you have ever used a slow cooker to slow cook something, then you might know that slower is sometimes better. It’s wonderful for foods like beef stew or roasts. I love to slow cook something all day because the r20160608_085026esults are always worth it. The same goes with tea. Depending on the tea you’re brewing, sometimes it’s worth brewing it just a bit longer for a wonderful flavor.

This method applies with Sun Tea. What is Sun Tea? It is tea that has been brewed and left out in the sun for several hours. It is very easy to make.

All you need is about 3-5 teabags of your favorite tea (the most common used is Lipton but I used Yorkshire) or more, depending on how strong you like your tea, distilled or filtered water, and a large clear container with a lid.

 

 

 

  • Simply fill the container with water and add the teabags.
  • Take the container out to a sunny area, either indoors or outdoors, where it gets a lot of sun (or else it’s not sun tea!) and let it stand for about 2-4 hours.
  • Bring it out of the sun and chill in the refrigerator. Once chilled, add sweetener and ice to taste. Enjoy!

Sun Tea is the best during the summer because it puts the summer heat and sun to good use and “boils” the tea for you, saving energy and money on your gas and/or 20160614_151446electric bill. You won’t need to use a kettle so it doesn’t heat up your home. Try making some Sun Tea this summer. You will not be disappointed!

Tips:

  • Try making Sun Tea with other kinds of tea, like green or herbal.
  • Add fruit or herbs with the brew for a lovely flavor!

-CD

IMG_6119

(c) Julia Briggs

  • Oven 190 C, 375 F, Gas mark 5
  • A greased two pound loaf tin
  • 6 oz butter
  • 6 oz caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs or 2 eggs and the whites from another recipe
  • 4 oz self raising flour
  • 2 oz ground almonds ( for a different texture, you can use all flour though)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

 

  • Icing (of your choice) I used:
  • a 7 oz block of dark chocolate and
  • 3 oz butter melted together then poured of the finished cake

IMG_6113Cream the butter and sugar together then add the eggs and beat hard.  Slowly add the flour, milk and ground almonds if using and combine well.   Now divide your mixture into two and add the cocoa powder to one half.  Spoon the two mixtures alternatively into the tin and tap down to rid the mixture of any air pockets.

Now with a thin knife blade or a skewer draw through the mixture to mixIMG_6114 slightly and produce a marbled effect.  Bake for 40-45 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch.  Test with a cake test or skewer.  Leave to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.

Place a plate under the rack to catch any drips then make up the icing and pour over the cake.  Enjoy a thick slice with any tea you like.  -JAB

IMG_5871My Mother did a lot of baking and she did try and vary it at times.  Rice buns are something she made not very often.  They are made from normal cake mixture with added ground rice in place of some of the flour.

They look the same as a normal bun but taste a little differently.

 

Oven 200 C   400 F  Gas Mark 6

To make 20 buns you will need:

  • 4 oz butter
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz Self Raising Flour
  • 3 oz ground rice (or rice flour)
  • a few drops of lemon essence
  • the juice of half a lemon (optional)

Cream the butter and sugar together until it is pale and creamy then add the eggs one at a time plus a tablespoon of flour with each egg. Add the lemon essence and lemon juice if using.  When well mixed fold in the flour and ground rice until the mixture is well combined  and put a spoonful of mixture into each bun case.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes until firm.  You can decorate with a half cherry or some white icing or leave them plain.  Enjoy with a cup of tea. — JAB

IMG_5776

(c) English Tea Store – Julia Briggs

When the local Church has a sale or a fete they always ask, ‘any cake donated will be greatly appreciated’  I usually make a Victoria sponge, but sometimes I make this tray bake Almond Slice.  It is always popular.

 

 

 

You will need:

4 oz sweet short crust pastry (4 oz flour 2 oz butter 2 oz sugar and a little cold water)

Filling:

  • Jam of your choice
  • 3 oz butter
  • 3 oz caster sugar
  • 4 oz ground almonds
  • 2 oz ground rice or rice flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 oz flaked almonds
  • Oven 190 C  375 F  Gas Mark 5
IMG_5772

(c) English Tea Store – Julia Briggs

There is no need to pre-bake the pastry case, it will cook along with the filling.  Make your pastry and roll out to fit a 7 inch square tin, spread the base with jam, slightly warmed to make it spread better.  Now make the filling by creaming the butter and sugar together, then add the egg.  Add the ground almonds and ground rice and mix well.  Spread this over the jam and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until firm to the touch,  Allow to cool in the tin then cut into fingers.  Enjoy with a nice cup of tea.

-JAB

Recently, English Tea Store has had requests to carry Eccles Cakes  and we are now proud to feature them on our site! They are still mostly unknown in the United States. While they are beginning to gain popularity here, they have been well known by British people for many generations. Eccles cakes are flaky, round, and flat little cakes covered in sugar and filled with fruit, usually with raisins or currants. They’re often described to be buttery, fruity, and sticky but very delicious.

teafdco1000035247_-00_lancashire-eccles-cakes-4-pack-7oz-198g

(c) English Tea Store

Eccles Cakes were believed to have originated from Eccles, England, but many also say Lancashire (a suburb of Manchester, England), hence the name Lancashire Eccles Cakes. Eccles is also a word meaning “church” and it was the name of a local church where a service was held over the years to celebrate the construction of the church. Following the service was a fair where attendees could purchase food and drink, with Eccles Cakes being one of these said foods. It is unknown on who invented the recipe but it was popular in a shop run by a man named James Birch in the 18th century. His Eccles cakes were the ones sold on Church Street by the vicarage. Eccles cakes are often confused with the Chorley cake, but the Chorley cake is made with shortcrust pastry and is less sweeter than the Eccles cake.

Eccles cakes are becoming more and more popular, being  been sold in other countries. They have been seen in a few specialty shops and are now sold right here at the English Tea Store. The best part is that these very cakes are made in Lancashire, so you know you’re getting the best quality! Try with a cup of tea either as a snack, dessert, or for tea time.

Trivia: Eccles Cakes are also known as Squashed Fly cakes.

 

-CD

IMG_5343Remember all those recipes we did using egg whites?  Well now is the time to use some egg yolks.  Custard tarts are easy to make and very tasty so here goes.

 

 

 

You will need:

  • 4 oz sweet short crust pastry,
  • made with 4 oz flour, 2oz butter and 2 oz sugar.  Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs and stir in the sugar.  Add enough cold water to combine the ingredients together and leave the bowl clean.
  • 2 eggs and one egg yolk
  • 1/2 pint milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Or buy some ready made pastry!  Roll out the pastry to fit inside a 7 inch flan tin and blind bake for 10 minutIMG_5344es at 190 C 375 F Gas 5 .  Remove from the oven and then reduce the heat to 180 C 350 F Gas mark 4.

Prepare the custard filling by heating the milk and sugar to almost boiling point then allow to cool a little before adding the whisked eggs and egg yolk.  Strain the liquid into the pastry case and, if liked, sprinkle the top with grated nutmeg.  Bake inside a roasting tin half filled with water for about 20 minutes until set.   Allow to cool before removing from the tin.  This can be served warm with cream or cold with a nice cup of tea. -JAB

Halloween may be over now and there may be that sad feeling that the festivities are over with (at least until Thanksgiving), but it’s just getting started in the UK! November may be all about Thanksgiving in the United States but for the British, it’s about Guy Fawkes and bonfires!

Now, who was Guy Fawkes, you ask? Guy Fawkes had a large role in the the Gunpowder Plot as he and other British Catholics wanted to use gunpowder to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The then monarch, James I, was not a supporter of the Catholics. In fact, he was unempathetic towards them. He even evicted Catholic priests which angered the Catholic population.

FPUD_TAT_BTP_-00_Tate-and-Lyles-Black-Treacle-454gFawkes’ motive for the plot was because he wanted to help re-establish Catholicism in Britain by blowing up Parliament once it was opened. James I’s daughter was his successor and a strong Catholic, who would help put faith towards the Catholics once again if she were in power. Fawkes was put in charge of guarding the gunpowder placed underneath the House of Lords. He was to set off the gunpowder, subsequently blowing up the cellar he was hiding in. Unfortunately, he was caught and taken to the Tower of London where he was tortured until he gave the names of his fellow plotters. All of them were executed.

Ever since November 5th, 1605, bonfires were lit to celebrate the safety of the King and is now a tradition. This day has been known as Bonfire Night ever since. People in Britain celebrate with fireworks and burn effigies of Guy Fawkes, being placed on top of or thrown into a bonfire to burn. When the Guy Fawkes effigy is made and not yet burned, villagers and townspeople usually wheel him around shouting, “Penny for the Guy!”, collecting money for fireworks.

The night(s) before, usually November 4th, is known as Mischief Night. Children and teenagers are usually known for playing practical pranks like putting treacle on doorknobs or tying up gates (usually harmless).

Bonfire Night is not just known for fire and fireworks, but also for traditional food! While people munch on hot foods and drink like hot chocolate, mulled wine, tea, toffee apples, and soup, but everyone has to have their Parkin cake! Parkin is a slightly sticky sponge cake made with oatmeal and black treacle, either bought in shops or made right at home.

If you or someone you know plan to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day, please be safe and warm!

Chai…now doesn’t thTEABVTK1000032511_-00_Twinings-Chai-Latte-K-Cups-12-countat sound like a good ring to your ears? You should know that it brings a good ring to your mouth. In several parts of the world, it’s what they call tea! But for many of us, we think of it as a spiced drink. Chai is usually made with black teas (Assam is a popular one) and spices. Much like a good English cuppa, it’s best with a bit of milk and sweetener. The most popular spices used for Chai teas are ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, anise, fennel, and nutmeg. However, some versions may vary and add different spices.

Chai tea is usually enjoyed in India (where it’s called Masala Chai, or spiced tea mix) and other Southern Asian countries, just as how Yorkshire tea is common in Great Britain! Most recently, chai is making its way West to the United States where it’s become very popular among Americans. There are tea lattes, latte concentrates, and various chai tea flavors! In the US (Bonus Trivia: In Kashmir, they actually use gunpowder green tea for theirs instead of black teafbsn1000033427_-00_vanilla-chai-scone-mixtea!), there are flavors like vanilla, chocolate, pumpkin, and even apple!

It’s getting easier to make your own chai teas at home, especially with so many homes having Keurig brewers. Twinings makes it easy not only to make your own cups of tea but also to make your own chai tea lattes! Forget the coffee shop! Stay at home and make your own! For the price of two barista made tea lattes, you can get a box of Twinings Chai Latte K-Cups. There’s also a French Vanilla flavor!

Chai has also been used in food. It’s sometimes used in cakes, cupcakes, and even scones! Sticky Fingers makes a Vanilla Chai Scone mix that’s simple to make and will definitely fill your kitchen with a heavenly scent! So don’t fear chai, embrace it!

A little bit of French today because we are making ham and cheese pastries and as you probably know a chicken breast stuffed with ham and cheese is called Chicken Cordon Bleu!

They are very simple to make ifIMG_4742 you can buy the ready-made puff pastry, you will also need some nice cooked ham and some very strong cheese.  We have made cheese pasties before and they are similar but the ham just adds that little bit extra taste and also they can be used as a main course if you make them big enough.

Roll out your pastry and place a slice of ham on, then some thick slices of a nice strong Cheddar cheese on top of the ham.  Fold the whole thing up and crimp the edges with a fork and brush with beaten egg.

Bake in a very hot oven for 20 minutes until puffed up and golden brown.  Serve straight from the oven as a main course, I served mine with some oven roasted tomatoes, or if you want you can make smaller versions and allow to cool slightly before serving as a snack with a cup of your favorite English Tea Store tea!

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